While the rain may have fallen across the Hawke's Bay landscape of Saturday's Big Easy cycling event it failed to cause a fall in participant numbers, which delighted Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas who was part of the organising team.

"A lot of people arrived in the rain to register for it," she said, adding that pre-registrations had also been high and it appeared few people had decided to pull out.

"The numbers were actually up on last year - we were looking at between 1300 and 1400, which was fantastic."

Ms Dundas said it showed the determination of locals and visitors to defy the weather and simply get out on "the great trails" and have a fun day.


"I don't think people mind the rain so much - it's the wind they don't like but we didn't have too much of that so that was good."

The pathways were damp and the wet weather gear was well in evidence as the sea of cyclists, of all ages, set off from Church Road Winery at 10am, and there were plenty of comments like "it's only a bit of rain".

Ms Dundas said it was the true spirit of the blitz response - nothing was going to stop the pedals turning.

There were colourful capes and headgear everywhere, with the "Queen Bees" cycling group taking out the best dressed award while six Canadian visitors who dubbed themselves "The Prawn Pelotons" were awarded the best named group.

Napier woman Buffy-Marie Arbman summed it up for all when she simply said "the rain didn't put us off - we put on coats and things and just got going".

She took part in the 20km family ride which set off from Clive as she had her youngsters Logan and McKenzie along.

"You just had to be prepared," she said, adding that the following morning the legs were fine, although there was plenty of bike cleaning to be carried out. "We'll definitely be back next year - it's a great time."

The main ride from Church Road Winery to the final finishing point at Black Barn was a 43km one, and Ms Dundas said she was astonished later to hear that a 4-year-old boy had done that stretch. Riders enjoyed stop-offs at wineries and cafes along the way, and were entertained with music and fun - with superspy Austin Powers and the legendary Elvis Presley spotted on a couple of occasions. The day ended with a concert at Black Barn.

Ms Dundas said Good Friday's Half Easy ride in Central Hawke's Bay had also been a success.